Here is a new interview with Josh & Emily of Woves who are releasing their brand-new album on Friday December 10, 2021.
1- Where did you grow up?
Josh: An extremely boring suburb outside Philadelphia, but aren't they all?
Emily: Outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA 2- What is one of the first songs you remember liking as a kid?
Josh: The first main genre of music I listened to when I was a kid was actually 50's oldies. It's all my mom ever listened to, and the oldies station was always on whenever we were driving around in her gold bug or cooking at home.
Songs like 'The Book of Love' by the Monotones and 'Only Sixteen' by Sam Cooke (cringey lyrics when I think about it, but not when I was 5) were so simple, songwriting-wise, but were so effective at making you feel warm and upbeat. It was such a great feeling to have growing up.
But, if you're looking for a cool story related to an early memory of a particular song, the song, 'I Will Follow Him' by Peggy March came on the radio when I was probably 5 or 6 and, as we started singing along, my mom told me that Peggy March was actually in her sister's class in high school. They went to Landsdale Catholic high school in Pennsylvania and had both wanted to join a convent after graduation, and she told me the song was about her following God. Before that, I thought all oldies songs were about falling in love and singing 'do doo da da da do' for no other apparent reason than that's just how they were feeling. I remember rolling my eyes a tick, but anyway that's what stuck with me.
Emily: My dad had Fleetwood Mac's Rumours on vinyl. I remember listening to and enjoying that album a lot. Dad also listened to a lot of Elvis Presley. I used to have a Fisher Price portable record player and had Elvis film soundtracks and a Sing-Along-With Disco albums. I discovered new wave and alternative music a little later on.
3- What influenced you to get into music?
Josh: I'd always flirted with different aspects of music as a whole. Like, being in choir periodically through school, picking up the sax for a couple years in 5th grade, and then in high school I met a bunch of guys in my homeroom who were all into wanting to start different bands like Pearl Jam or Ween and that's what made me finally pick up a guitar.
Listening to those bands and others like Tool, RATM and Alice In Chains definitely made me want to do what they did. I don't think I ever really wrote music like that, but that was the kick in the crotch I needed.
Emily: I loved the movie Xanadu and Olivia Newton John from as far back as I can remember. She always seemed like a superstar to me and always appeared to be having fun doing it. I guess that had a big effect on me. I was also singing at a young age along with every HBO screening of that film.
4- At what age did you start playing/singing?
Josh: I started singing in the Catholic school I went to early on. They made us go to mass every Wednesday morning before class in a 'church' that was actually the school's auditorium. Some of those old hymns are actually kinda cool and have inspired a lot of popular music over the past 70 years or so.
Emily: I like to say that I popped out singing because I literally cannot remember a time that I didn't sing. I went on to sing in church and any stage I could find. I started playing keyboards and guitars around age 10, I believe. I had a Casio MT-100 that I would write songs on. I was also simultaneously learning to play Beatles songs on acoustic guitar. I think I started writing songs around the same time. 5- If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself after finishing school?
Josh: Never date a girl named Steph. If she sees this, I'm dead anyway.
Emily: Don't try to pick a career that you think you need to do or what you think others expect of you. Just relax, play for a while with the possibilities and chase your dream.
6- What are some of your favorite songs at the moment?
Josh: 'Be Sweet' - Japanese Breakfast (how can you not love that bass line & 80's chorus?)
'Kagen Sound' - Luke Abbott (gotta love that dark synthwave. the different modulation on all the synths makes it nice and wavey)
'Uncomfortable' - Sault (such a sick groove and silky voice with a poignant message)
'Sunny Afternoon' - Benny Sings (this dude does not miss. it's like the theme song for a basic cable 80s tv show in the best way possible)
'ACTION' & 'Nobody Knows We Are Fun' - CHAI (these chicks fucking rule. they wrote their album all separately during the pandemic and they pull from all the best 80s, 90's and modern influences)
'Catching Smoke' - King Gizzard And the Lizard Wizard (I hadn't really listened to these guys much in the past, but their latest album also produced during the pandemic is pretty epic, as all the tracks flow into each other like one whole piece of music)
'Mine Forever' - Lord Huron (that guitar sound kills, and the main hook is crazy catchy)
Emily: I like the new Tori Amos song "Spies". I really enjoyed St. Vincent's whole exploration of 1970s NYC with shades of Nan Goldin on Daddy's Home. Duran Duran's Future Past is great too, particularly “Anniversary”. Turns out Chai have a track with D2 on Future Past. 7- Do you listen to your own music?
Josh: Nope. Haha, I usually have to listen to the tracks a ton as they're being made because I'm usually the one recording, mixing and producing them. After I release them into the wild, I sometimes have to make a clean break or else I'll hear something I did (or should have done) that I want to go back in and fix or make better.
I try to listen to as much music as possible from all sorts of genres and recordings to try and keep fresh for when I start writing or producing something new. A good portion of my work week involves administrative stuff like tending to the sites, designing merch and running a comic book store on eBay, so there's lots of time to have music play in the background.
Obviously, I listen to stuff on occasion if I'm feeling nostalgic or need to submit something to a TV/Film listing, and playing live adds to that, but I prefer to keep moving forward with new ideas and methods.
Emily: I probably listen to more of my own than what else is out there. I'm always writing with people, but at the same time, I don't want to risk sounding like what’s hot at the moment, so I don't deep dive into "scenes" per se. I like to try and hear themes and then bring my own thing to them.
8- Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
Josh: I actually just wrote a song for a film that's supposed to be sung by an artist who was on The Voice, and who's currently working with Jay Z. When I first moved out to LA from Brooklyn 9 years ago, me and Kolby Wade (wrote majority of Woves beats) did a mashup remix of Elliott Smith's 'Condor Ave' and a Jay Z track, so while I can't necessarily say that I've always specifically wanted to collaborate with Jay Z (because I'm definitely not lol), I am excited to work with this particular artist. She's got an Andra Day vibe going that'll be cool to collab with.
Emily: I’d love to work with Duran Duran. I’d love to sing with Stevie Nicks, Dave Gahan, Massive Attack, Zero 7. I’m sure there’s others. These are the ones that first come to mind. 9- What is one of your favorite memories so far in your music career?
Josh: I was in a band called Pela (who later became Augustines) for a quick minute, and the last show we played as a band was at Seattle's Block Party opening up for Sonic Youth. I thought we put on a killer show until I saw Sonic youth from the side of the stage. I mean, holy shit, THAT was a rock band.
Emily: I have a lot of fond memories. I loved writing with Moby. I loved performing to a sold-out Hollywood Bowl with Blue Man Group. I love hearing my music and voice in a film like when I sang with The Album Leaf for the soundtrack of The Endless and then heard the music all over the score and ending credits. That was pretty great. It was fun singing the theme song for NBC’s Love Bites too. It just feels like you’re actually doing something bigger and not toiling away with a ton of tunes on the hard drive.
10- What advice would you give to someone that is just starting to get into music?
Josh: Not everyone will, or has to, like your music. But keep doing what you do, take advice and criticism on the shoulder, work your ass off at the right things to improve your skills, and take chances because nothing will turn out the way you currently hope or plan on.
It's exceedingly rare to 'make it' in music, but music can be a lot of things. If you love it, you'll always be close to it, but don't count on anything. I can't tell if that was positive or negative advice...
Emily: Hang on! It’s ups and downs, highs and lows. Just when you think you’ve made it, God says ha, as they say. Then you’ll just be working hard and surprise, something comes out of the woodwork and changes your career for the better.
Spotify: Chaos Mesa by Woves - DistroKid